Oct 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/07/08MANILA1819.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA1819
2008-07-31 08:03
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #1819 2130803
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 310803Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1461
INFO RUENAAA/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS MANILA 001819

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PTER RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINE APPRECIATION FOR U.S. HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

REF: A. MANILA 1624
¶B. MANILA 1582 AND PREVIOUS

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In response to USG humanitarian
assistance provided in the wake of the June 21-22 Typhoon
Frank, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto G. Romulo sent a
warm, expansive letter of thanks to the Ambassador. The
Foreign Secretary underscored the Philippines’ heartfelt
gratitude for the disaster-relief efforts of the aircraft
carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its accompanying vessels, the
aircraft of which flew more than 300 sorties and provided
more than a half-million pounds of badly-needed supplies to
areas hardest-hit by the deadly storm. USG humanitarian
assistance such as that provided following Typhoon Frank, as
well as the recent visit of the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS
Mercy, receive widespread and positive coverage in national
media, generate goodwill toward the United States, and
bolster bilateral relations. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (SBU) Typhoon Frank (international name “Fengshen”) swept
through the central Philippines June 21-22 with devastating
effect, causing an estimated $260 million in damage to
agriculture and infrastructure, while claiming the lives of
perhaps as many as 1,500 people (reftel A). Following on the
June 24 Oval Office meeting between President Bush and
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the aircraft
carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its carrier strike force were
dispatched from Hong Kong to assist in relief efforts,
arriving off Panay Island June 25. Helicopters and
fixed-wing aircraft from the Reagan and other vessels began
disaster-relief efforts almost immediately, and in the course
of eight days, delivered more than a half-million pounds of
bottled water, canned foods, tarps, medical supplies, and
other badly-needed materials. USG relief efforts were
coordinated by a multiagency team on site for more than a
week, and included a June 29 trip to the area by the
Ambassador. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, these
efforts undoubtedly saved many lives, especially among
infants and the elderly.

¶3. (SBU) Secretary Romulo’s letter reads in part:
“The USS Ronald Reagan, berthed in Hong Kong, sped through
the South China Sea, bringing humanitarian assistance that
relieved pain and suffering and gave hope to those whose
lives were grievously altered by the unfortunate event.
Filipinos felt the compassion, care, and generosity of the
American people through the men and women of the USS Ronald
Reagan. During this time of distress, once again the United
States and the American people showed how they were solidly
behind the Philippines and the Filipino people. This and
many other acts of kindness are meaningful facets of the
multi-dimensional friendship shared by the Philippines and
the United States, one that in Thomas Fuller’s words
“multiplies joys and divides griefs.” On behalf of the
Philippine Government and the Filipino people, I express my
profound gratitude to the Government of the United States for
the timely and valuable support for the victims of Typhoon
Frank.”

¶4. (SBU) COMMENT: Romulo’s letter echoes similar sentiments
expressed by Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
Governor Datu Zaldy Ampatuan, who likewise provided an
official letter of thanks in response to the May 29 – June 17
visit of the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy, which
provided medical and veterinary care for 25,000 patients from
Mindanao and the disaster-prone region of Samar in the
central Philippines. Such humanitarian exercises on the part
of the U.S. military receive widespead attention in national
media, and there is concrete evidence from national polls
that the assistance rendered materially affects Philippine
citizens’ perception of the United States in a positive
manner. END COMMENT.
KENNEY

   

 

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